Review Dumpster Dive: Barbie Software – Horse Adventure: Blue Ribbon Race

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I faced quite the dilemma last week. My five-year-old cousin’s birthday was coming up, and I was having a hard time coming up with a gift to passively aggressively let her parents know that I hate her. That may sound harsh, but in my defense she is a brat that oozes some sort of substance out of every hole in her face every time I see her. I babysat her once and she coughed in my mouth. Do you understand? I was in the middle of a yawn, she ran over, grabbed my face, and coughed into my open mouth. She laughed afterwards. This isn’t the behavior of a five-year-old. This is the behavior of a sociopath posing as a five-year-old while she tries to evade the cops. As she skipped away (probably humming “Let It Go” from Frozen because that is the only movie she’ll watch) I cursed her under my breath.

“One day, about six months from now, I will ruin your birthday by getting you a gift so terrible that it will make the Trojan Horse look like a quaint peace offering.”

Unfortunately, since I am a grown man with a manly beard, I know very little about what kids hate. I know they hate baths and naps, but my plan to flood her bed was ruined when her father caught me breaking her bedroom window to feed the hose through. I was forced to go with my back-up plan: a really, really shitty videogame. To find the perfect awful game to secretly punish awful children, I once again took to the depths of the Internet to see what random weirdos had to say about it. Join me in another “Review Dumpster Dive“, as this time we uncover the dark secrets behind Barbie Software – Horse Adventure: Blue Ribbon Race.

“I am James Bond, and I approve of this game!” by da007

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I tend to avoid reviews written by fictitious characters ever since the Flintstones tried to give me lung cancer, but unfortunately the depth of reviews for ten-year-old shovelware titles is pretty slim. This was the only full review I could find anywhere for the title, but at the very least it comes with the full endorsement of “da007”, aka James Bond. I like to think Pierce Brosnan has better things to be doing than writing up reviews for Barbie games no one ever played, but after checking his IMDB page I can’t say that for sure.

For a game that was hyped up since it’s showing in E3, this truly lives up to it’s expectations with the horse racing concept behind such a stunning Barbie adventure. It’s too bad this game was given the cold shoulder do to it’s brand name. Read further as I break down the scoring into 5 categories: Story,Gameplay, Visuals, Sound, and Rent/Buy?

Ah yes, who could ever forget E3 2003, aka The Year of Barbie Horse Racing Clop Clop Whatever The Hell This Is. Every other gaming company could go bankrupt and this could have been the only game shown at E3 and still no one would have remembered it. Hell, this could have been shown at E3 1903, effectively advancing technology by a 100 years, and the news story coming out of it would have been “Technology Officially Awful, We’re Going Back To a Nomadic Lifestyle.”

Story: 10/10

I have to admit I was quite surprised at how well the story unraveled. You start of as a beautiful women by the name of Barbie who lives on a ranch infested with horses.

I like how this isn’t a ranch where they keep horses, but rather one that is infested with horses. Like, Barbie called the exterminator out there, and he peered under the floorboard and said, “Ayup. It’s what I thought. You got a full-blown horse infestation. Look right here.” And then he pointed to a horse-shaped divot in the wall. Barbie is curled up in her bed, trying to sleep, but suddenly she hears “CLOMP CLOMP CLOMP” in the attic because the horses have worked their way into the ventilation system. They’re up in the trees, crawling under the floorboards, and eating all the cheese out of Barbie’s enormous horse traps. This is why you always spray for horses come springtime, people.

I’m not going to give away too much but let’s just say this game will leave you at the edge of your seats with all the plot twists this throws at you. In certain races I thought one person would win when the underdog really did, it left me tricked the whole race! You’ll really enjoy the story as it relates to everyday life as a horse racer.

I’m beginning to think this might not be a serious review. Is this even James Bond writing this? I have my doubts. Horses running and one horse finishing in front of the others isn’t a story, it’s just how your one race played out you moron. It’s like critiquing the riveting story in Madden Whatever Year You Play They’re All The Same where you thought one guy was going to score a touchdown, but then he didn’t because someone tackled him, and then trying to tie this in to how it reflects on the human condition and dealing with one’s own mortality. I highly doubt this relates to the everyday life of a horse racer either, because very few horse racers I know are little plastic toy dolls trapped in a terrifying ranch where horses have taken over and are braying for human blood.

Gameplay: 9/10

This has got to be my most favorite part of the game due to it’s emence fun factor this delivers. There is a total of 8 characters(Barbie being the default) and 10 horses with 7 of each being unlockable by winning championship games and earning the gold medal through vigorous races that will leave your hands cramped and sweating.

I didn’t know what the hell “emence” was because I was pronouncing it em-en-cee in my head, but apparently this is a frequently misspelled version of the word “immense” because when I typed it into Google I got fifty pages of results for immense and advertisements for remedial spelling courses. I don’t know how this could be your “favorite” part of the game either, James Bond, because you scored this a 9 and gave story a 10 when the story is literally just “horsies run around a track and one horsey eventually runs faster than the other horsies”. I also have no idea how this game could possibly leave your hands cramped and sweating unless you were playing it while also running a marathon in the desert or if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome and hyperhidrosis at the same time.

There is also a neat feature where certain characters on a certain horse will counter-react with one another and give you a special skill of some sort. One being a thicker whip to get the horses to run faster and another being a gold jockey suit that will keep your stamina at 100%. It’s not a given on what players you should fuse with what horses, so that will be up to you to figure out.

Why does this game allow you to fuse ANY rider with ANY horse?!? What kind of nightmare scenario is this? No wonder horses have overrun Barbie’s ranch, she’s been conducting some sort of inhumane human-horse fusion experiments in her lab in an effort to recreate centaurs. I had no idea we were going to be playing The Island of Barbie Moreau. I’m trying to let my cousin know I hate her, not traumatize her for life.

Visuals: 1010

All I have to say is “Wow!”. For being a Barbie game on the Gameboy Advance, the graphics in this game really blew me away. This is why it’s a shame that so many people passed this game up because of false accusations.

Who was making false accusation against this game worse than “Barbie runs a ranch infested by horses that she is trying to fuse to human beings”? Because that is my shtick and I will absolutely sue for copyright infringement. I like how it is so unbelievable to James Bond here that this game failed because it was a terrible shovelware title that he thinks the idea of some dark cabal forming to ruin the sales prospects on a Barbie GBA game is more likely. Sony and Microsoft got wind that some killer, must-have title was releasing for the GBA called Barbie Pony Run Clop Clop Monster Ranch, and they pooled their collective resources together to spread false accusations like “this game is an hour long and terrible” and “I don’t think kids should be playing games with rabid human-horse hybrids” to torpedo it. I don’t think cabals form for reasons that stupid. I feel like if that was on the mission statement, possible members would just leave and try to find a less dumb cabal to join.

I really felt like I was there with such lucious green grass and the heavenly sky bringing light among the surface with the bright sizzling sun yellow as dandelions.

If a blind mind suddenly gained the ability to see in the midst of the Amazon rainforest as all the trees and flowers came into bloom, and fireworks went off in the background while Sports Illustrated swimsuit models expertly recreated the works of Claude Monet off to the side, that man still would not like the visuals as much as James Bond likes what he saw in Barbie Horsey Run Run Clop Clop AIEEEEE STOP FUSING ME TO A HORSE. I like how the rest of the review is incoherent and misspelled, but when James Bond thinks back upon the beauty of the grass he suddenly become a poet. How can you possibly think this game looks good? I did a quick Google search for it and it looks like a Lisa Frank notebook died all over the screen. Have you never been outside? Are you trapped in a dungeon somewhere? Nobody let James Bond outside. I’m afraid his heart might explode if he sees real trees.

The characters looked like actual jockeys and I foolishly made the assumption that Ken, an unlockable character in this game, was Toby Mcguire from the movie “Seabiscuit”.

If a genie showed up right now and offered me one and only one wish for whatever I wanted, no limitations, I would wish to be brought back to the moment that James Bond uttered out loud, “Is that Toby Mcguire from the movie Seabiscuit?” so I could punch him in the mouth and prevent the dumbest thing in the history of the world from being uttered. When he said that, eight children in the same city all went deaf at the same time from the sheer inanity of that sentence, in a medical mystery that has left doctors baffled to this day.

If I were to name a game that held it’s own in the graphics department with the big names out there for the X-Box 360 and the PS3, I would absolutely mention this title.

No. You can’t say something this untrue on the Internet or you might break it. It can only handle so much horseshit before the whole thing collapses. James Bond has never seen a PS3 or an Xbox 360 in his life, I guarantee it. He might be under the misassumption that his toaster is a PS3

When I first heard the neigh, I almost had a heart attack at how loud and realistic the sound screeched through the stereo speaker of the Gameboy Advance. That amazed me at how I felt like I actually had a horse living with me.

If my kid yelled and forced me to check under his bed for horses because of a sound his Barbie game made, I would put him in a box and drop him off at a fire station. I don’t care how much you love your kid, there are some things you just can’t forgive and this is one of them.

Overall this was a beautifully made game that really takes your breathe away. If I could, I would bring this game to the many people out there and introduce them to a game they really missed out on. Matter of fact, I will make it a duty of mine to buy a few copies here and there and just randomly select people off the streets or in malls to give it to them for free as a favor for the wonderful fun they will encounter.

“Hello, police? Yes this is Sherry from the Orange Julius down at the mall. Yes, yes he’s back again. Mm hm. Yes, he’s handing out copies of some terrible Barbie game for the Game Boy Advance in front of our store. He keeps telling everyone Toby Mcguire is in the game. I don’t know who that is either. Maybe Tobey Maguire, but that doesn’t make much more sense. Please send help. He looks like he’ covered in dried horse blood. He’s—he’s becoming violent!”

“WE MUST FUSE THE RIDERS TO HORSES! ALL MUST BE FUSED!”

“No…no, stop. Hurry! Please, hurry! No…NO…AIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEE!!!”

“Random Amazon Reviews” by random Amazon reviewers

In case the guy with a concussion over on GameFAQs wasn’t enough to convince you (and why wouldn’t he be?), the only other reviews I could find for the game were on Amazon. These reviews tended to be broken down into two types: seven-year-old kids using the computer for the first time and 107-year-old grandparents using the computer for the last time. How can I tell which is why? Why, Amazon tells me!

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I don’t know if there is a box to click to let Amazon know a child is reviewing things or if Amazon automatically puts that up once a review hits a certain percentage of spelling errors. Either way, thanks to this feature I know one thing for sure: kids really, really hate Barbie’s Horse Nightmare 2003: Revenge of the Horses.

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I wonder how many Christmases were ruined thanks to this game. I’ve seen kids entertained with a box before, meaning there is a good chance the children that got this game had more fun with its packaging than the actual game. The first reviewer is one of the most positive I could find, and they gave the game a 3/5 despite their tagline being just the word “bad”. I suppose 5 is average, 4 is poor, 3 is bad, 2 is terrible, and 1 is literally killed my mother someone please get help. All of the kids agree the game is over in a day despite the fact that Barbie moves at the same speed as an actual Barbie doll. If Barbie moved at normal speed, this game would have been over before the title screen finished rolling. This is the kind of truthfulness you can depend on kids for. Well, that and impromptu verbal barrages.

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The longer this poor kid thought about the game, the more you could see them descend into madness. It starts off like “oh this game is dumb” and by the end they’re like “REALLLY STOOPID GET IT IN YOUR THICK DUMB SKULL GRRR ARRRRRGHHHH SKREEEEEEEE SKREEEEEEEEEEE HORSE BLOOD”. You could actually hear the exact moment when their grandmother ruined Christmas forever by getting them one of those newfangled vidya games out of the Wal-Mart discount rack. Although, I do enjoy the random aside when they are musing about whether or not the toy Barbie enjoyed being cast in this. Like, she just got done doing Toy Story and her agent roped her into some quick gigs to score off of the popularity of the movie, but Barbie was clearly phoning in her performance and you could just TOTALLY tell by the look in her vacant, plastic eyes.

Not everyone hated the game, though. Check out this glowing review by famed game critic Yoshi “Boo Boo Johnson”.

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I am a bit confused here. Not by the review, no; Yoshi’s plan of trolling older kids for laughs is brilliant and one I fully endorse. What I’m confused by is if the entire phrase “Boo Boo Johnson” was meant to be put in quotes. I’m assuming it is a nickname, like how I sign all my paperwork Nikola “Tater Tots” Suprak. Is this guy’s full nickname “Boo Boo Johnson” like “Oh, there goes Yoshi ‘Boo Boo Johnson’ Smith”? Because that is absurd and I refuse to take advice from anyone with a nickname that terrible. Isn’t there anyone on Amazon that liked the game?

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Here we go. Five out of five stars from chris viescas. I’m a bit worried that this person has children they are shopping for yet they spelled expected with an s—but hey, those two letters are close on the keyboard and maybe they just didn’t have time to spellcheck their two sentence review. Maybe we should just go in and check some of their other reviews to see what kind of person we’re dealing with.

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I took two seconds to look over the title of the book he bought and discover it was called Gleanings of Virginia history. Not gleaming. But hey, what do I know, I’m just a guy not dumb enough to immediately buy a book based on misreading its title and poor impulse control. “GLEAMING? I DON’T KNOW THAT WORD! HERE TAKE MY MONEY I CAN’T WAIT TO DISCOVER WHAT IT IS!” Who are you kidding, Chris? We all can tell you clearly can’t read. Also, your son is probably dumb and maybe dead based on the fact he is rubbing plants on his body instead of talking to a damn medical professional.

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Here we go. This is the kind of person that enjoys Barbie Slow Bridge Walking Simulator. The same kind of person that needs to buy specialty socks because normal socks keep thwarting their attempts to walk across the room. “Yeah, sorry boss, I can’t come in today. I put socks on again. Yep, currently trapped in my kitchen. Don’t worry though, this gives me time to read through my 228 books on Scottish history I just bought.”

What I Learned About Barbie Software – Horse Adventure: Blue Ribbon Race

There are two camps when it comes to Barbie Pony Pros Horsey Fun Time. There are all the kids that hated it so much they took to Amazon to warn other five-year-olds about their misfortune. And then there are people that have never seen the outside world because they are trapped in a dungeon or never learned to walk in socks and think this is the best game ever made. This made my purchasing decision an easy one.

Happy birthday, Susie. Maybe next time cover your damn mouth.

9 votes, average: 8.67 out of 109 votes, average: 8.67 out of 109 votes, average: 8.67 out of 109 votes, average: 8.67 out of 109 votes, average: 8.67 out of 109 votes, average: 8.67 out of 109 votes, average: 8.67 out of 109 votes, average: 8.67 out of 109 votes, average: 8.67 out of 109 votes, average: 8.67 out of 10 (You need to be a registered member to rate this post.)
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About the Contributor


From 2010 to 2017

Nikola has a tiny, baby beard. It is an embarrassment to the rest of the staff at GameCola, who work weekends as lumberjacks. Follow him on Twitter @NikolaSuprak for the most up to the moment details on Phoenix Wright shipping.

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